Publication Details

Organ, M. 2013, 'Tolkien’s Japonisme: Prints, Dragons, and a Great Wave', Tolkein Studies, vol. 10, pp. 105-122.

Link to publisher version (URL)

Tolkien Studies – Project Muse


The original September 1937 George Allen & Unwin edition of The Hobbit features artwork by J.R.R. Tolkien along with an accompanying dust jacket. This latter work is a modern, stylized graphic design composed of a not entirely symmetrical view of a Middle-earth landscape (night to the left, day to the right), with the Lonely Mountain rising in the distant center, flanked by steeply sloped, snow-covered Misty Mountains and in the foreground Mirkwood’s dense, impenetrable forests. Additional features include a crescent moon, the sun, a dragon, eagles, a lake village, and a rapier-like path—a straight road— heading toward a darkened, megalithic trapezoidal door at the base of the mountain.1 The runes which form the border read: “The Hobbit or There and Back Again, being the record of a year’s journey made by Bilbo Baggins; compiled from his memoirs by J.R.R. Tolkien and published by George Allen & Unwin.”